Harn Museum of Art Rachael Marley

Median of the Art/Technique of the Artist

This piece was on the tail end of my journey in the Harn and captured my attention and appreciation the second time I glanced at it. I passed the wall of pottery, thinking not much of it, to go on into a showcase room that had massive tangible pieces, which were roped off, on display. Coming back, I got a better look at the wall and all of the unique pieces inside it. As said, the uniqueness and individuality of each piece was imperfect. The whole wall made me realize that it is okay not to follow a crowd and not to be like “everyone else.” In opinion, once you step back and notice all of the imperfections of not only yourself, but also others, you get a better sense on what exactly your values and your reasoning for placement within humanity is.

The specific pieces within the display, I could not and would not pick a favorite. Each was striking in its own way. From the color and patterns to the shape, size, and texture, each was different. Seeing it in person allowed for me to appreciate the artist work so much more because by simply studying a picture, one cannot see the labor put into the finite detail.

Design of the Museum

The Harn Museum currently features a Latin American exhibit, which caught my eye because a handful of the close friends I’ve made this year have a Latin background. The exhibit on display at the Hard succeeds in highlighting Latin culture and values across what is considered to be the larger Latin community. The exhibit professionally displays many Latin artists across different time periods. Throughout the Latin community, the customs shared are slightly altered based on each nation-state. It is these small difference that people seem to forget in which really unite the people and beliefs of Latin America. This exhibit offered an appreciation for my friend’s heritage.

Spotlight: Latin America was painted on a wall, with visible light shining down on the words for emphasis and probably for dramatic effect. The design of the exhibit, which followed many of the others in the museum, was genius. The colored walls tied the whole section together. This organization made it, in opinion, more impacting on the visitor. Even the picture frames held significance, as they also were colored a brown and some, black, cream, and/or white. In short, the pallet flowed appropriately. I think the color choice of the walls and frames for the Latin American section specifically was ironic. Lots of people associate the Latin American culture, heritage, etc. as a more rural and nature based lifestyle. The Latin American people can also be somewhat strict according to their values and cultural beliefs pertaining to religion, etc. The art on display also plays with this color scheme and this theme.

Emilio Sanchez American, born Cuba, 1921-1999 Casita al mar (Little House by the Sea) 1974

In addition, I really liked the open feel that most of the exhibits had within the Harn. I absolutely loved how the build in walls created a sense of isolation through simplicity within each theme- everything flows so nicely because of this structural organization.

Art and Core Values

There is a fairly new exhibit at the Harn that I found striking because it was unlike many of the other exhibits and it also hit a personal barrier. The entirety of this exhibit was found on the wall- there were no freestanding 3-D sculptures, artifacts, etc standing around in display cases. Instead, there were black picture frames, all relatively the same size, running horizontal along every wall. I have learned to love photography because my best friend has a real passion for being behind his Nikon. He analyzes the meaning behind each photograph he takes, as well as those of others. He has set up portfolios, won awards, and seeing this exhibit in the Harn made me smile because it proves that other people see photography as an art too.

Sebastiao Salgado, 1981 First Communion in Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil

One of the walls, and perhaps others featured images by Sebastian Salgado. He captures moments of the poor and underdeveloped communities and classes across the globe. He allows his views to see the reality of living in poverty and oppression. In this specific photograph, there are three young girls from Juazerio do Norte, Brazil. His fascination with children and the younger population was refreshing to him, and he appreciated their strong whit that they could continue on with the enjoyment of life despite their over arching struggles. Personally, I agree and support the message this photographer is putting off. I love children, I think they are so pure and innocent and genuinely a gift to this world. I think it is important for them to be happy because they bring others immense levels of happiness. I also support how he is making the major issue of the societal struggle a focal point in his work.

Art and the Good Life

The piece above caught my attention for its uniqueness and made me think of the good life. The lamp has many different light bulbs and lampshades, representing the many different meanings or values of the good life. Whether that is helping others, helping yourself, etc. Whether that is impressing others, impressing yourself, etc. And factor in all of the other things we talked about regarding ones characteristics and values. Us as individuals have to prioritize these things in order to help define our own sense of the good life.

Balancing is something that is essential in good life. In my eyes, this lamp serves as a metaphor. If you think about the way in which the lamp functions, in order for one or all the bulbs to shine, electricity must be flowing throughout the system. However, the dimming or dullness of one bulb will not affect the system as a whole. Therefore it is only when the system fails that all of the bulbs fail. Putting this into human perspective, you can have your many values visible and at hand. You do not need to focus on every bulb at once in order to succeed and live your life to the fullest. One does not need to have it all shinning brightly to achieve the good life. You need to be your own individual and prioritize the things you deem important for yourself and carry out from there. So if a bulb is out, it is not the end of the world and it is not a halt.

As a female, there are many struggles I face in society that many of the other pieces at the Harn do a decent job at portraying. In this modern exhibit, this lamp is aside many other innovative and wacky creations. It has to compete with shining its light. Behind the lamp is the creator. The creator is balancing their work, their family, etc. which is something that many of the works on display at the Harn preach. They preach religion, core values, societal views, and gender relations. All of these can be considered the “bulbs”. The lamp itself got me to think about all of this in a way that makes sense for my brain, and allows me to apply to my version of the good life.


Rachael Marley

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